Saturday, November 16, 2013

A deliberate book review

I'm now an autodidact, and one of the ways I learn is to review books with a deliberate practice. The steps of my approach are as follows;
  1. kick-start the brain - this means I read the table of contents, skim each chapter (very quickly), and examine each image in detail. I believe constructivism is how many of us learn, I am no exception. So when I undertake a learning task (like reviewing a book) I need to allow my brain to retrieve as much related information it can conjure to assist in my learning and relate it back to my previous learnings and knowledge.
  2. read to seek understanding - every passage of text I read I develop an understanding of it. If this requires me to research the themes and topics in the passage of text, I do. I make notes, draw pictures, create concept maps to deepen my understanding...
  3. write and reflect - when I have covered a reasonable amount of content I will write about my understanding with the intention of publishing to my blog. I will reflect upon my learning and my writing, and then review it for completeness and understandability.
  4. edit then publish - I will usually leave the related blog post(s) unedited for a few days as I continue to reflect upon its content. I will the return to the post and make edits in preparation for its publishing. 
  5. review - I will read most new blog posts a few times after their publishing. I will often make further edits where appropriate. During this review I will think about how its content relates to other reading I have since completed.
  6. iterate - I will continue to read with purpose and continue with similar practices until the book is finished. Often I will have multiple blog posts underway as I read a book for the purpose of review.
For me this approach allows me to develop a deep understanding of a books content while contributing to the collective publishing platform known as the internet.